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Hamas shows signs of resurgence in parts of Gaza

RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Hamas has begun to resurface in areas where Israel withdrew the bulk of its forces a month ago, deploying police officers and making salary payments to some of its civil servants in Gaza City in recent days, four residents and a senior official in the terrorist group said Saturday.

In the aftermath of the Hamas terrorist attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7 in which 1,200 were killed and another 250 were taken hostage, Israel says it’s determined to crush Hamas and prevent it from returning to power in Gaza, an enclave it has ruled since 2007.

In recent days, Israeli forces renewed strikes in the western and northwestern parts of Gaza City, including in areas where some salary distributions reportedly took place.

The partial salary payments for some government employees signal that Israel has not delivered a knockout blow to Hamas, even as it says it has killed more than 9,000 Hamas terrorists.

Israeli military leaders had said they had broken up the command structure of Hamas battalions in the north, but that individual fighters were continuing to carry out guerrilla-style attacks.

Meanwhile, combat continued in southern Gaza. The military said operations in Khan Younis would continue for several days.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza said Saturday that 107 people were killed over the past 24 hours, bringing the wartime total to 27,238.

The European Union on Saturday expressed concern over reports that the Israeli military intends to take its battle against Hamas to the town of Rafah.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Thursday that after Israeli troops seize the southern city of Khan Younis, they will move on to Rafah. He did not give a time frame.

The EU’s top diplomat, foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, warned that conflict is likely to spread throughout the region unless a cease-fire is agreed between Israel and Hamas terrorists.

Speaking in Brussels, where he was chairing informal talks among EU foreign ministers, Borrell said that the Israel-Hamas war has created “a domino effect,” with conflict also erupting in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and in the Red Sea area.

International mediators continued to work to close wide gaps between Israel and Hamas over a proposed cease-fire deal. Hamas holds dozens of the roughly 250 hostages taken in the Oct. 7 attack, after more than 100 were released during a one-week truce in November. Those releases were in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners.

Thousands of people gathered again in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening for anti-government protests to express growing frustration grows at how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his administration have handled the war. Others joined hostages’ families to again press for a deal to have everyone freed.

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